Saturday, June 30, 2012

10 Commandments to Live By at Work

There are times when you get really bored of the routine. The time at work almost moves at a quasi-static pace, lunch breaks pass at the speed of light, and you wonder when you can head home and do something productive. You pledge that the next day will be better, and that you will not lose any more time than you've already wasted. But it simply doesn't happen - and before you realize it a month has passed. You hate saying that you procrastinated and that you are bored of the routine. However, that is exactly what you did.

A lot of us do not feel this suffocation, despite being affected by it. Even if we feel it, we do not like acting on it - which is worse. There are many indicators - loss in personal productivity, distracted mind, surfing social networking sites too often than required, multi-tasking when not required, fading interest, switching over to doing something trivial, etc. Statistics here and here suggest that there is a tremendous loss in productivity - not just by boredom, but by not acting on it timely.

You might have gone through this phase yourself or might know someone who is going through one. So what to do when you get trapped in this "routine boredom" and are not able to do anything about on it? I was going through a similar phase recently, when I took notice and decided to do something about it. Although I'm not a habitual procrastinator, I did get trapped in it this time. 

The first step was to admit that I was going through this phase. This is a really good time to sit back and do some ground level thinking about what is going wrong. About a year and half ago, I had made some "rules to live by" OR "Commandments" for working better. They had worked wonders for me. They had helped me stay focused and deliver really high quality output. These one and half years were one of the my best times in my professional life.

As I got busier in work, I realise now that I had stopped referring them and stopped living by them - which caused me to fret and worry more. So I decided to re-define them in the new context of things. Unlike last time, I am sharing these newly defined "10 Commandments" below.

Some ground rules for working better -
1. Focus on getting things done within a deadline. Don't drift.
2. Make a to-do list and just start doing it - one at a time.
3. Stick to the task at hand until it is done, unless something really critical comes up.
4. Review the day's work and find out what you could have done better.
5. Interact with whoever is required, without bias and get your work done.
6. When you are feeling down, quickly get back up and move ahead.
7. Don't let a bad mood/ harsh comment spoil your work. Bounce back. Quickly.
8. Read new articles only for 45 mins, spread through the day.
9. Check Personal Email only twice in a day (at 1pm and at 6pm).
10. Check Social Networks like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin only once a day (at 1pm).

I will be following these closely and will keep sharing results of which ones worked more, and how they are helping me in my day to day work.

Although I am not a time management expert, I found these practices are quite helpful and you know what? They work! I encourage you to make such a list and try it yourself.

How do you cope up with a loss of productivity? How do you deal with procrastination? Which tips would you like to add, edit or delete from the above 10 Commandments?

1 comment:

  1. The Eleventh Commandment:
    - Ensure you are seated in a quiet area, or work from home, when critical things need to be done fast. Phones on silent, or vibrator, help further